Violent scenes marred Atherstone Town’s FA Cup third qualifying round home match against Barrow on Saturday as supporters of the midlands club clashed with visiting fans and an opposition substitute.
With Atherstone trailing 4-0 at half-time, a
group of home fans ran onto the pitch and aggressively entered a section of the Sheepy Road ground containing Barrow fans, leading to fighting.
Torn apart: Atherstone fans rip up a Barrow flag as their side went down 4-0 at home
Vengeance: Atherstone fans runs across the pitch to attack Barrow fans at half-time
Initially it was a small group of Atherstone supporters that grew to around 30-strong.
One elderly supporter was reported by witnesses to have been injured and left bloodied, while Barrow substitute Greg Mills, on the pitch to warm up during the interval, was seen tussling with an Atherstone fan after being confronted.
Involved: Atherstone substitute Greg Mills clashes with Barrow fans
A flag belonging to the Barrow supporters was taken during the half-time altercation by Atherstone fans, who attempted to burn it.
The match was held up, with the start of the second half delayed by over 10 minutes.
It finished 4-0 in Barrow’s favour, with a number of away supporters seen departing soon after half-time.
Invade: Atherstone fans reacted after being 4-0 down at half-time in the FA Cup qualifier
Disgrace: The match was delayed in the second half but Barrow went on to win 4-0
Atherstone chairman Rob Weale offered a swift apology for the disturbing scenes.
He told BBC Radio Cumbria: ‘I am personally embarrassed about the scenes here at half-time. It was unacceptable. Obviously, we will be pursuing the perpetrators.
‘We will work alongside the security officers, the referees and the police and those people responsible will feel the full force of the law.
‘The situation was defused as quickly as possible, the police came in to take control but once it has happened it has happened and I apologise to the Barrow fans.’
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